CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — One family says they were blindsided by tragedy after a Chesterfield father was killed in a motorcycle crash over the holiday weekend.

Virginia State Police identified the victim as 36-year-old Kenneth Tate Jr., who state police say ran off the road to the right at a high rate of speed and struck a guardrail. He was thrown off the motorcycle.

Tate was wearing a helmet, according to police. His mother, Susan Turner, has a piece of his helmet that was recovered from the crash site.

“It was hard. I dropped to the ground like any mother would do when their son has passed,” she said.

Turner said her son was well-loved by the community. He was a father, a recovered substance-user and a hard-working man who loved to remodel houses. Tate recently received his contractor’s license, she said.

Turner also described him as adventurous and a true go-getter.

“If he wanted something, he worked and he got it,” she said.

Tate’s love for motorcycles started at a young age.

“He was always getting hurt. He’d been hit by a car two times in his life,” she said. “The second time he was all bloody. We went to the hospital, we prayed, got the deacons of the church there…nothing was wrong with him.”

“He had a golden horseshoe. Nine lives, whatever you wanna call it. God had him,” Turner said.

State Police said nine people, including three motorcyclists, died this past Fourth of July weekend across Virginia.

The nine deadly crashes happened in the cities of Danville, Franklin, Norfolk and Portsmouth and the counties of Chesterfield, Botetourt, King William, Loudoun and Warren.

The motorcycle crashes happened in the cities of Franklin and Portsmouth, as well as Chesterfield County, said police. One person was also killed in an all-terrain vehicle crash in King William County.

Last year’s Fourth of July weekend saw 12 traffic deaths in Virginia.

Though there were fewer traffic deaths this year than there were last year, VSP remind motorcyclists to always obey safety laws and to wear their helmets.

Drivers should wear sturdy clothing like jackets, pants and boots. Motorcyclists can also wear reflective strips or decals so it’s easier for other drivers to see them. They should always keep their lights on even during the day.

Police warned motorcyclists against riding in a driver’s blind spot and riding while distracted or impaired.

Turner said she hopes her pain can save someone else from tragedy. 

“It’s all about your safety. Be mindful of the gravel in the road, the curves that you’re taking,” she said. “Watch out for other drivers because they do not look out or motorcyclists at all.”

Drivers can participate in the Ride 2 Save Lives Motorcycle Assessment Courses across the state, it’s a free course offer where people can learn how to handle hazards, special situations, interstate highways and curve negotiation.